Fr. Frank Pavone: Why Roe Will Fall, Eventually

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By Father Frank Pavone, The Christian Review, Sept. 10, 2018

There as an expression that goes something like, “Lies run sprints but the truth runs marathons.” This has been true in our own American legacy. While our country was founded on the truth that we are all equal in dignity, in practice, it has not been true for everybody. It took The Civil War to correct the injustice of slavery. And that wasn’t enough. The shockwaves of slavery took years to correct. Eventually, the doctrine of justice in our constitution brought on changes in the law.

The lie Americans lived under then was that some people — African-Americans — should be treated as property in slavery. The truth is that there is no right to own people.  Now there is another pervasive lie in our culture: people have a right to treat their children as property and dispose of them through abortion. It’s always the vulnerable who are victims of the lies and the powerful who subject them.

But I believe the truth is rounding the final bend in this marathon. Our laws will catch up very soon with the truth that every person, no matter how convenient or inconvenient, has an inalienable right to live. It has happened before in our history.

America has, on occasion, recovered the recognition of the equal dignity of those who were deprived of their rights and suffered violence which was given legal cover under a different name. This legal cover was often mistakenly recognized by the Supreme Court for a while, such as the Dred Scott decision (1857), but, eventually, such decisions were overturned.

Although there is no denying we depend on Congress and our legislative process to make and change laws, there is no doubt the Supreme Court has been critical in many instances. America’s courts and legislatures have a proud history of changing “settled law.” For example, erroneous decisions like Hammer v. Dagenhart (1918) institutionalized child labor. But this was overturned 23 years later by United States v. DarbyAs research by Rev. Clifford Stevens shows at length, a new development — a “pedagogical moment” — occurred here in Constitutional law. The question was whether constitutional rights applied to children too. The answer was, ‘yes.’

The “Separate but equal” doctrine of Plessy v. Ferguson (1896) sanctioning segregation was overturned by Brown v. Board of Education some 58 years later. Many reversals of Supreme Court cases came about when new evidence was brought forward that made it clear that someone’s rights, not previously recognized, were being violated.

We are now witnessing the same trend regarding the children in the womb. Evidence that has been around for quite some time demonstrating their humanity is finding its way into legislatures and courts. One of the most striking instances comes out of South Dakota.

The Eighth Circuit Court of Appeals, in the Planned Parenthood vs. Rounds decision (2012), upheld South Dakota’s law requiring that abortion providers tell women that the procedure destroys a “whole, separate, unique, living human being.” This came about because of the evidence presented to the court regarding the humanity of the unborn child.

Evidence also has mounted that abortion hurts women. In fact, thanks to the testimonies of those who have had abortions – testimonies we bring to the attention of the public through the ‘Silent No More Awareness Campaign’ – courts (including the Supreme Court in Gonzales vs. Carhart, 2007) have also recognized in their decisions that there is deep regret following their abortions.

All of this helps explain why the nomination of Judge Brett Kavanaugh and his hearings have been an abortion battleground. There is a desperate attempt from those who want to maintain abortion on demand to corner a pro-life judge to promise them just that.  Senators have been interrogating Brett Kavanaugh to answer the question on whether he believes Roe v Wade is settled law. He has answered in the affirmative because it is settled law. But that doesn’t mean Roe is correct, and that doesn’t mean it won’t be overruled.

Judge Kavanaugh even stated that the court case Casey v Planned Parenthood established a “precedent upon precedent” in regards to abortions laws.  Liberals are obsessed with saying that abortion is “the law of the land”- and then they pretend that Roe is going to fall tomorrow simply based on whether Judge Kavanaugh is confirmed.

Their hysteria is baseless because it’s not that simple. And yet what short memories they have! Eventually, Roe will be challenged and overturned in the same way its erroneous ancestral decisions were…with time, with the accumulation of evidence, with the changing tide of the culture. Truth always has a way of rising to the surface no matter how hard it is pressed down.